Presbyterian Church and other Christian groups came together to answer this challenge: How much money can we raise in an hour to address the suffering in the world? Eventually, twenty denominations joined this effort to make the love of Christ real for individuals and communities around the world who suffer from the effects of disaster, violence, and/or severe economic deprivation. The visionary people who gave birth to OGHS wanted to show the power that can be generated when Christians unite in a common cause. Today, the offering’s purpose remains the same, and the need for the life-changing work of OGHS is greater than ever. The Season of Lent reminds us who we are, who we serve, and how we are called to live lives of faith. OGHS presents us a wonderful opportunity to answer the call to Christian discipleship. Please give generously to the work of OGHS in this, its 70th Anniversary Year!
Sunday, April 14 is Palm/Passion Sunday, the traditional start of Holy Week. We will begin the week waving palm branches and reading the Passion Narrative, this year from the Gospel of Luke. We will do it in a modified “reader’s theater” style again, allowing us the opportunity to hear the entire narrative in one sitting. We will celebrate Maundy Thursday on April 18, starting at 6pm with a dinner in Donegal Hall prepared by the Presbyterian Women. At 7pm, we hold our traditional Maundy Thursday worship service, also in Donegal Hall. The Rev. Dr. Erin Cox-Holmes will be preaching, and the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated. On Easter Sunday, April 21, at 10am in the Sanctuary, we will hold our traditional Festival Easter Service of Worship. Special choral anthems will be sung, the Word will be preached, and the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated. Invite your family and friends to join you for what will be an inspiring and uplifting worship experience!
We’ve passed the half-way point in our “Journey to Jerusalem.” It seems as if the time has flown-by. In two weeks, we’ll be at Palm/Passion Sunday, and then it’s on to Holy Week and Easter. I’ve enjoyed working my way through this year’s Lenten Devotional, Awakening to God’s Beauty – the photographs are exceptional, and the commentary is spot-on. I sometimes find devotional books such as this fail to hold my interest for more than a couple of weeks. In this case, though, Krin Van Tatenhove’s photography and commentary will keep me engaged for the whole of the journey. Oftentimes, we use the word “discipline” when talking about spiritual practices such as a daily devotional. I think the term puts people off – most of us associate the word “discipline” with things that are mandatory and not very life-giving. We’re required to do them or there will be adverse consequences. When talking about “spiritual disciplines,” we’re talking about practices which are spiritually beneficial and good for the soul. We need this type of discipline if we’re going to maintain a healthy relationship with God. Just like our relationship with our spouse or close friends, spiritual disciplines need to be practiced regularly if they’re going to remain fresh and life affirming. There are times during the year that I need a spiritual discipline to keep me focused on the Divine and open me to God’s work in the world. It’s easy to grow stale in your prayer life, your devotional life, and your worship life. In my case, I welcome the discipline of preaching on a weekly basis – it engages me with the Biblical texts and the overall trajectory of the Scriptures. It reminds me that God is still active in the world, and that we’re in danger of overlooking that activity if we don’t keep our eyes and ears attuned to the miracles which are happening around us every day. God never rests! So, stay engaged! Don’t get left behind on the journey! We’ll be in Jerusalem before you know it. The Upper Room, the cross, and the tomb await our arrival. For our sake, the Risen Christ overcomes the sharpness of death and the Spirit renews our hearts and minds as we celebrate the miracle of Easter. Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
Mark your calendars now and join us for our three Annual Lenten Dinners. The first one will be held on Ash Wednesday, March 6, at 6pm in Donegal Hall. The main course will be lasagna. Following dinner, at 7pm, we will hold our traditional “Service of Ashes” and celebrate the Lord’s Supper in Donegal Hall to inaugurate this year’s Lenten Journey to Jerusalem. Our second Lenten Dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 27, at 6pm in Donegal Hall. The Boy Scouts will be preparing our meal for us. Following dinner, we will celebrate Evensong with the singing of hymns, the reading of Scripture, and a brief Homily. We will be finished by 7:30pm. Our third and final Lenten Dinner of the season will be held on Maundy Thursday, April 18. We will begin the evening at 6pm in Donegal Hall with a ham loaf dinner prepared by the Presbyterian Women. Following dinner at 7pm, we will hold our Maundy Thursday service of worship. This year, the Rev. Dr. Erin Cox-Holmes, the Executive Presbyter of Donegal Presbytery, will deliver the message. The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated. It is requested that those in attendance bring either a salad, vegetable, or dessert to share that will serve eight. We look forward to your attendance with us as we join in a time of food, fellowship, and spiritual renewal.
Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple: Our 2019 Lenten Study will be Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple, by Adam Hamilton. Simon Peter left everything to follow his teacher and possessed a passion that would change the world. He was poor, uneducated, quick-tempered, and full of doubts and fears. Can this be the same man? That’s the point of this study. Peter was just an ordinary guy who heard and followed God’s extraordinary call. Join us on Wednesday mornings at 10am in the Memorial Parlor beginning on March 13. The study is both video and print based. Copies of Adam Hamilton’s new book will be available on Sunday morning starting March 3. See Rev. Holmes for your copy! Plan to join us for this journey into the life and ministry of Simon Peter.
Awakening to God’s Beauty: Awakening to God’s Beauty is the Presbyterians Today 2019 Lenten Devotional. Each Sunday, we’ll be invited to practice the spiritual discipline of visio divina, which means “divine seeing.” To do so, we’ll view and meditate upon the beautiful photographs of Krin Van Tatenhove, author and photographer. During the week, our journey to Easter continues with reflections on God’s handiwork and beauty as told in the Psalms and reflected upon by Krin Van Tatenhove. Copies of Awakening to God’s Beauty will be made available to all family units and individual members of the Bethany congregation. They will be available on Sunday morning from our ushers or during the week on the tables in the Narthex and the Welcome Center. This will be a wonder-filled opportunity for our faith community to journey to Jerusalem together!
It may be twenty or thirty degrees outside, but Spring is coming, and with that comes the Bethany Women’s Association Spring Basement Sale on Saturday May 11 from 8am 12pm. So clean out those closets, the garage, basement, and hidden cubby holes, and bring your donations to Bethany. Christmas de cor may also be brought for the November sale. New this year, Clothing will not be accepted! As we all are aware, the Women’s Association has used their basement sale proceeds to beautify our church building. From the parlor overhaul to the kitchen color refreshing, to the restrooms, we all have benefited greatly, and owe them a huge thank you. If you have any sale questions, please contact Pat Rineer.